Mistakes can be your friend. Really. Throughout my career on stage, in the circus ring and in recent years, in boardrooms and work sites, I’ve seen over and again how the hardest and often most important, moments are when something goes wrong – the tech fails, you forget your next line, you accidentally offend someone. These are the times for what I call “Golden Mistakes” – opportunities to make deeper connections because things are askew.
One day, a colleague on Corteo, an opera singer from Argentina, got injured right before the show. After intermission, I found myself in the audience doing a scene that was supposed to end with the opera singer and me waltzing down the aisle. He wasn’t there, of course, so I turned to a woman in the audience and held out my hand. She was in her mid-sixties so I thought she might know how to waltz. She did, better than me, gracefully spinning out and back into my arms. I spun her out again and this time she gave a curtsy and held her hand for me to kiss. I kissed it and she sat down exactly as the band hit the last note of the waltz. Everyone cheered, the woman beamed and waved like a queen. A Dynamic Moment, a Golden Mistake.
Embrace those opportunities!
Clowning is the touchstone I use to try to be a whole person and treat others as whole people.